US Navy Officer, Wife Who Conspired to Sell Equipment to China Face Up to 30 Years in Prison

By Juliet Wei | November 18, 2021
Juliet Wei, A seasoned journalist in the United State. The University of Southern California graduate with M.A. in Specialized Journalism. Washington DC Senate and House Radio-Television Correspondents’ Galleries accredited Correspondent Credential. White House Approved Credential granted to live stream broadcast rallies.
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US Coast Guard Law Enforcement personnel operate a rigid-hull inflatable boat in support of security. (Image: DOJ, US Navy and picture on Twitter by Sprinklr)

U.S. Navy Lt. Fan Yang, a Naval Flight Officer trained in anti-submarine warfare, was found guilty of hiding the purchase of two firearms for his co-defendants Ge Songtao (51, Nanjing, People’s Republic of China). His wife and accomplice, Yang Yang, was found guilty of buying U.S. watercraft and equipment designed for law enforcement and military applications and attempting to export them to China. 

According to the statement released on Nov. 15 by the Attorney’s Office Middle District of Florida at the Department of Justice, Fan Yang faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in federal prison. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for March 16, 2022. 

False statements about firearms purchases

According to evidence presented at trial, Fan Yang is a Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy, trained in anti-submarine warfare. As a Naval Flight Officer, he worked as a crewman on the Navy’s P-8 Poseidon ASW and patrol aircraft, and operated sensors and coordinated tactics.

The release said that in 2017 and again in 2018, Mr. Yang purchased two handguns for Ge Songtao at Ge’s request but was lying that he was purchasing the firearm for himself when he filled in the Firearms Transactions Record (known as ATF Form-4473).

The DOJ release stated,  “In 2016, while Yang was stationed in Jacksonville, Yang recommended that Ge Songtao hire Mrs. Yang as an employee of Shanghai Breeze Technology Co. Ltd., Ge Songtao’s company headquartered in Shanghai, China. That company purchased in the U.S. and exported to China maritime equipment designed for law enforcement and military missions.” 

Chinese-based company hidden from Navy, lies told to top-secret security clearance

Mr. Yang hid his relationship with his wife’s company from the Navy over an extended period. During the time in which Ge Songtao employed Yang’s wife and paid visits to the Yangs’ home, and had paid for the Yangs to travel and visit him, Yang signed a background questionnaire as part of the renewal of his top-secret security clearance. He did not disclose his maintenance of a bank account in China, his contacts with Ge, part-time for his family business BQ Tree LLC,or that he possessed an expired Chinese passport.

Mrs. Yang received more than $300,000 in payments from Shanghai Breeze officially as her salary. However, this money, spent in the U.S, included not just the Yangs’ personal purchases, but also procurements made on behalf of Shanghai Breeze for goods ordered by Ge. The funds were frequently routed through the Yangs’ family business, BQ Tree LLC.

Yang Yang claimed company based in Hong Kong, attempted to smuggle military equipment to China

According to the Department of Justice press release on Nov. 2, Ge Songtao has pleaded guilty to conspiring to submit false export information through the federal government’s Automated Export System and to fraudulently export to China maritime raiding craft and engines. In addition, he attempted to fraudulently export that equipment in violation of U.S. law. Ge faces a maximum penalty of 15 years in federal prison.

According to the plea agreement, Ge Songtao was the chairman of Shanghai Breeze Technology Co. Ltd., which is headquartered in Shanghai, China.Beginning in 2018, Ge was interested in identifying a source of supply of U.S.-manufactured combat rubber raiding craft equipped with engines that can operate using gasoline, diesel fuel, or jet fuel. 

“These vessels and multi-fuel engines are used by the U.S. military and can be operated after being launched from a submerged submarine or dropped into the ocean by an aircraft. No comparable engine is manufactured in China.” the plea agreement stated. 

Mrs. Yang falsely claimed that her customer was an entity called United Vision Limited in Hong Kong, rather than Shanghai Breeze Technology Co. in Shanghai. She pled guilty to two charges: failing to disclose which company was buying the equipment, and where it was based; falsely filling in the Department of Commerce’s Automated Export System in violation of federal law.

“As FBI Director Christopher Wray has stated previously, we will not tolerate it when China violates our criminal laws and international norms, much less enable it,” said Rachel L. Rojas, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Jacksonville Division.

The statement released by Department of Justice Attorney’s Office Middle District of Florida on Navy Lt. Fan Yang and Ge Songgao.(Image: DOJ Attorney’s Office Middle District of Florida)